Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Law & Order: Specious Views Unit

Tuesday night, I was working on my computer with Law and Order: SVU running in the background. I am well used to the political and moral "soapboxing" by the writers of that franchise. (I have met one of them, and she is the same in person.)

But last night's episode, entitled "Sin," committed even more egregious transgressions.

The story was about an "evangelical" pastor who was openly opposed to the homosexual lifestyle and had (gasp) 10 children. As Detective Stabler quipped, "Even Catholics don't do that anymore." The promotional copy reads: "They seem like a loving family from the outside, but things are not what they seem."

Reverend Jeb Curtis (played by Tim Daly) is the pastor of the wealthy New Souls Church.

  • The congregation has $50,000 lying around to put up for the pastor's bond.
  • The pastor is paying $2400 per month in rent for the male prostitute. And this money comes from his discretionary account.
  • Yet the auditorium of the church appears to hold only about 250 people. (They must be excellent givers.)

The young people of the church are depicted as vapid, mindless androids that "think AIDS is funny."

Dr. Huang, the police psychiatrist, said of Pastor Curtis thinking that he had been using the services of the male prostitute, "He repressed his natural sexual desires and channeled them into having as many children as possible. But the problem with repressed desires is they eventually explode." He also speculated that the Curtises were a part of the "Replenish Movement" since they had so many children. He told Detective Stabler, as if he were describing the inner thoughts of a psychopath, that these people "believe the Bible is the literal word of God."

Detective Benson reacts to attempts to "cure" homosexual inclinations with the same disgust that she reserves for child prostitution.

The wife of Reverend Curtis (played by Kathy Baker) jettisons her faith and her sanity attempting to murder her husband, the "only man I've ever kissed."

The Roman Catholic faith of Detective Stabler is shown in a good light, presumably because he doesn't take it too seriously.

The murderer turns out to be the administrative assistant at the church.

The producers tie this all up in a neat bundle, in effect, taking back all the accusations made against the people of the church:

  • The father embraces the son acknowledges his homosexuality.
  • The father admits that he was wrong to attempt to change the way "God made" his son.
  • The pastor and his wife are reconciled.
  • The pastor is completely cleared of murder and sexual misconduct.

But the image of the people of the church stands, a group without a single redeeming quality. They make no contribution to the community. Rather, they are a threat because of their narrow-minded views and mindless devotion to religious fundamentalism.

I have several reactions to this:

  • The writers and producers of Law & Order have no idea what Christianity is really about.

  • They see "evangelical" Christianity as a threat to society.

  • Why did they think it was a good idea to do three shows in the Law & Order franchise with the same basic theme?

  • The church has been its own worst enemy, providing the background material for nonsense like this.

  • If Christianity is what is portrayed in this episode, then it is no wonder that people want nothing to do with it. I want nothing to do with it.

  • It's time for the church to demonstrate what it means to be serious disciple of Jesus Christ.

So what do you think? Do you have other observations about the show?

Pastor Rod

"Helping you become the person God created you to be"

1 comment:

daniel the smith said...

I think I saw one of the other two shows mentioned a long time ago, and my recollection is that it was quite a bit better than the one you're describing (which I have not seen).

Were it not for the fact that "The church has been its own worst enemy, providing the background material for nonsense like this," it would offend me. As it is, it's hard for me to get mad at the person holding the mirror because of the ugly face I see in it... :(

Of course, if they actually wanted to help things, they could have done their homework and made it a lot closer to reality. Few people that they tick off will stop to think, "Hey! I'm doing the things that make them think we're like this!"